Britain and Europe: What would wisdom say? cover image

Britain and Europe: What would wisdom say?

Faith-based perspectives on the June 23 referendum are in short supply. In this thoughtful paper, Chris Hancock reflects on what ‘wisdom’ in the biblical book of Proverbs might say about Britain’s relationship to the EU. Chris writes in light of Jews, Christians and Muslims being still a God-fearing, statistically majority in Britain and Europe, who share a common respect for Psalm 111.10: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’. As Chris introduces his purpose,

My aim in this paper is … to quarry wisdom’s words from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs [1] for rhetorical questions voters on June 23 might be wise to consider….

But let me be clear: more is at stake here than pious platitudes. Such is the pressing, contemporary prominence (and self-evident security implications) of questions of cultural identity and religious coherence – to say nothing of the popularly assumed virtue of tolerance – the neglect of wisdom may cause key arguments for and against Britain’s continuing membership of the EU to be overlooked.

With an eye on ‘wisdom’, then, and on major themes in the current debate on EU membership, Chris identifies seven ‘warnings’ and seven ‘promises’ that ‘wisdom’ offers to voters. Chris does not promote a particular party. He does exhort readers to think carefully before casting their vote in what is reckoned by some to be a ‘once in a generation’ decision.

To read the full paper please click here.

Chris Hancock is Director of Oxford House, an academic agency that provides high-level consultancy advice on religion, morality and contemporary geo-politics. Chris is a former Dean of Bradford Cathedral, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, professor of theology, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in China at King’s College, London. He has taught at China’s leading universities and been a visiting professor at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Bangalore since 1996.


[1] I use here – lightly adapted at times for the sake of clarity – the New International Version of the Bible.